Business Sustainable Thinking: challenging students to create business models for projects focusing on social and environmental impact

Andre Calmon - Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations Management

One of the most popular MBA electives at INSEAD is Business Sustainability.  It saw a 300% growth in enrolment in just two years. The course, running at full capacity, is a great example of INSEAD’s successful revision of its MBA curriculum in order to make students aware of the bigger picture and give them the tools to make a meaningful difference in the world.  

Over the course’s seven sessions, students receive tools, methods and frameworks to analyse, evaluate, improve and create business models that can address some of the major challenges faced by humankind today. For example, in the last course held in May 2018, students focused on topics such as building a circular economy, scaling the operations of a profitable business that address a social challenge, industry self-regulation and digital transformation. The course requires students to propose a business innovation— within an existing company or as a start-up idea— that addresses a social or environmental need. 

The inspiration behind the course is Andre Calmon who has won the MBA Best Teacher Award at INSEAD and received the Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in MBA Teaching multiple times. “Our MBA students are considered some of the smartest and savviest in the world. They’re definitely the most challenging and interesting to teach,” says Andre.

Andre has designed this course for MBA students who see business opportunities among solutions to global challenges. “The journey starts here,” says Andre, “for those who want to design companies that contribute to environmental and social sustainability.” 

Business Sustainability is one of the notable ways INSEAD is implementing its mission of developing leaders who will shape business as a force for good. Further investments in developing such courses will have a tremendous impact on our collective future. 

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